Four Noob Generator Questions [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Shoeless
08-22-2012, 08:40
So I've been reading up on generators and am thinking of getting a residential triple-fuel generator for the mountain house. We have a liquid propane tank on-site (not the buried kind) so I guess we'd just hook the generator up to it.

I used the wattage calculator online (http://www.generatorsales.com/wattage-calculator.asp) and I figure that I need between 14,000 and 22,000 watts of continuous power to run all the essentials at the same time, but of course you don't run everything at once.


Questions:

1. Since not everything will be running at the same time all the time, how do I know what my REALISTIC continuous wattage needs are? I don't want to get a generator that only puts out 5,000 continuous watts if that means I can only run my fridge and not my heat, for example.


2. How do you attach the generator to your electric line that supplies your house? (Is that a dumb question??)


3. Most of them say, "Is this unit suitable for powering sensitive electronic equipment such as a laptop computer?" and the answer is YES. However if the answer is NOT yes, or is vague, will plugging my sensitive electronics into a surge protector help shield them in that case?


4. Why are the lesser powered generators more expensive than the higher-wattage ones? IE: As I'm looking on www.GeneratorSales.com and searching only "triple fuel" generators because I think it would be helpful to have the option to use my LP, as well as gas if I need to.

So in my search, I see a Troy-Bilt 10,500 watt generator for $1499, AND I see a Yamaha that is only 3,500 watts max output, but it costs way more than the 10,500 watt generator. They are both triple-fuel so why is the lesser powered one more expensive? Not making sense to me, so I must be missing something.

I know some of the more pricey ones are also inverters so that explains the price difference. But if it is comparing a generator to a generator, why would there be such a price difference?

Any other info you think is important will be appreciated!

Thanks!
Shoeless

bdcochran
08-22-2012, 08:50
1. list all of the appliances by model type and power usage;
2. decide what you really want to operate and when;
3. send the specifications to a large generator sales organization;
4. hire a local, licensed electrician who is knowledgeable about hooking up to the existing electrical.

Similar questions were asked about drilling a well:
1. check on whether your area is in a water district wherein permission must be obtained to drill a well. It may come as a surprise to some people, however, in my state every inch is in a water district and permission is needed to drill a well;
2. consult a local well drilling company. The drilling conditions differ from area to area.
3. you are correct in observing where your pollution would be located, but what about the neighbor's release of pollution? My late father from Mississippi told his cousin the reason that everyone was always sick in the cousin's family had to do with the placement of the well and the discharge from the family.
4. I represented an oil company with a refinery and 100s of gasoline stations. I certainly looked at plume surveys. Don't assume that just because your human waste outlet is downhill and the well is uphill that you aren't working the same acquifier.:wavey:

Carry16
08-22-2012, 12:46
You don't mention what type fuel your heat is, but I'll assume propane since you have a tank. If that's the case you only need enough power to run the blower and minor electronics like the thermostat. Figure that's usually a 1/3 hp blower, though my new Trane is 1 hp.

If you're going to have most things like lights off when you're away you only need to calculate the necessary loads like freezer, fridge, furnace, etc. If you want to run AC that's a lot of juice. '

Remember bigger generators, as a general rule, suck big quantities of fuel if they are running full or partial loads. That's one of the advantages of the inverter generators - they can run from an idle to full bore and still put out a continuous 60 hz at 120/240 volts.

I have a dual fuel propane/heat pump furnace which I can run in propane mode along with two refrigerators and two freezers, plus a couple lights, GDO and a small tv with my Honda EU6500is and I have never heard it strain itself.

Generators are like everything else in this world - you get what you pay for. If I had a second choice in generators I would look for an 1800 rpm diesel unit of 5kw or higher. But probably not Chinese diesel.

I'm not sure how these manufacturers are rating their gensets today, some are taking great liberties I feel - Troybuilt being one.

If you have a good supply of propane why waste the money on a tri-fuel machine? Propane doesn't go bad like gasoline and you don't have to go out there and refill all the time.

While a surge protector would help I don't think it would save your laptop from a nasty generator. Now if you buy a battery backup UPS and run the laptop off that it might work out well. I have them on my TV, sat rcvr, dvr and computers. Be sure to shop of an APC ** smart ** UPS....they are true sine wave.

There are various ways to connect your genset to your power panel. I went with a separate generator panel which has dual 60a 240v breakers. There is a mechanical cam arrangement which only allows one of the 240v breakers to be on at any given moment. These are like main breakers for my generator panel. One 240v breaker is fed from my house panel with power company energy. The other 240v breaker is fed via SO cord from my genset. This makes a foolproof install that my wife can do blindfolded - well maybe peeking now and then. :rofl:

We have a 3hp shared well which I have run many times with my generator. Many neighbors use 5000 watt generators and I haven't heard of any of them burning the pump out yet.

I like the idea of having a small generator like a 2kw and maybe a 6500. Between them you can run a lot of stuff. When I go to the farmers market every stand that needs power is running a Honda inverter. You don't even hear them and they run all day with 1/2 a tank of fuel.

Made in Japan costs more than made in China :supergrin:

One last thing - if this is a summer home or getaway place you may want an automatic transfer switch and autostart generator.

Shoeless
08-22-2012, 13:30
Oh my GOSH what a lot of information to digest!! Wow. Thank you so much -- I'm learning, I'm learning!!

Shoeless

beatcop
08-22-2012, 18:16
14000 to 22000 watts is not "essentials". Get a more reasonable accounting of power or you'll be consuming fuel at a record pace and overpaying for a genny.

Do you have a 2500 sq/ft house w/oil burner & well pump? 6500 will be ok.